I’ve been rewatching my Green Wing boxset for the third or fourth time, and while the verbal jokes and surreal sight-gags are still as funny as ever, the soapy storylines are a little too familiar now to stir up much intellectual/emotional engagement. As a result, my easily-distracted mind started to wonder about the Desi actresses who occasionally popped up in small supporting roles throughout the series…
Manjinder Virk appeared in ep #1.7 as the ‘Theatre Nurse’* charged with choosing between “movie genres” or “regional accents”, for the surgeons’ regular game of putting on silly voices while operating (she chooses “regional accents”, in case you’re curious). In a later scene she also throws a metal surgical pan at ‘Guy’s (Stephen Mangan) head (from off-screen) for joking that nurses are “thick as pig-shit”, then sweetly apologises. Bless. Coincidentally (or not) Virk made her screen debut playing a ‘Junior Nurse’ in hospital drama Holby City, and has appeared in three separate episodes of an afternoon soap called Doctors, as well as the late-night medical drama Monroe… though her most impressive achievement acting-wise would be the three award nominations she picked up for her work in a semi-dramatised-documentary called The Arbor (Best Newcomer at the BFI London Film Festival Awards, plus Best Actress and Best Newcomer at the BIFA Awards, 2007). Behind the camera, she’s also written and directed two very serious-sounding short films.
According to several sources, Amber Agha appeared in ep #1.9 as an uncredited ‘Nurse’… though I can’t say where for sure. There were a couple of scenes in the bar, with several nurses milling around and (silently) chatting with the main cast members, so I’m assuming she was one of them… but your guess is as good as mine. A graduate of Cambridge University and published poet, Agha (sometimes credited as “Agar”) is probably best known for her recurring role as ‘Dr. Anvar “Annie” Parvez’ in Murder City, but she’s also appeared in Holby City, and Doctors too.
Chetna Pandya appeared in ep #2.1 as a ‘Nurse’ sitting in the canteen reading a newspaper, who Guy taunts with a plate of curry, mistakenly believing that she’s fasting for Ramadan. She brusquely informs him that she’s Hindu, and calls him a “nipple”. Besides the requisite cameos in Doctors and Casualty, Pandya also popped up in the first episode of Black Mirror, and has a role in Matt Berry’s new sitcom Toast of London, which kicks off on October 20th! As if that wasn’t enough reason to dig her, she’s also appeared in RSC productions with Ayesha Dharker (Arabian Nights: A Tale Well Told), as well as Meera Syal and Amara Karan (Much Ado About Nothing).
Finally, in ep #2.7, Preeya Kalidas had a decent-sized cameo as a cunning ‘Newsagent’ who out-haggles ‘Martin’ (Karl Theobald) when he tries to get her to comp him a string of Lotto scratchcards, in return for a cut of the (potential) winnings. She ends up winning seven grand, and doing a cute little dance behind her counter, before phoning her mate to broadcast the good news. Of course, by the time she filmed this, Kalidas had already starred in Bollywood Queen, and had recurring roles in Broken News and Bodies… which probably explains why she got more lines and coverage than the other three actresses above. Since then she’s appeared in over 130 episodes of EastEnders, released a couple of singles, and starred in Bollywood Carmen, a Desi-fied version of the Bizet opera which was filmed and broadcast live for BBC3 (and also co-starred Syal, for those keeping score at home).
* Although referred to as “Nurse Richardson” onscreen, she’s not named in the credits.